Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas at the Lake

Christmas has come and gone, zipping past in a blur that seems to get faster each year. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea that it already happened, but over all, Christmas this year was a wonderful time.

Last year was Norah’s first Christmas. She was 5 months old and understood nothing of what was going on. This year, we made it just about halfway to the enthusiasm that I’m so looking forward to as a parent. She recognizes Santa and points to him with vigor. She knows reindeer and can pick Rudolph out of a group. She is excited by images of snowmen and understands that they have carrot noses. And she knows just what to do with a wrapped present. All that’s missing is the ability to understand stories and anticipate events and we’ll have entered that all too short period of time in which Christmas is truly magical.

I can’t wait.

We opted to travel to the Lake to spend one last Christmas at MoMa’s with Jet and his girlfriend, M. In anticipation of Norah’s better understanding of the season next year, we have made it clear that Christmas Eve will from hence forth find Little Lutine snug in her own bed. Grandparents and aunts and uncles are welcome…but Christmas is now being past down to the next generation and we all get to work around her holiday

I would be lying if I said this holiday was relaxing. Enjoyable? Absolutely. But see…MoMa has a cozy little house that is packed with knick-knacks. The Christmas decorations truly put you into the spirit of the holiday, but time spent there with a toddler boils down to basically running around constantly moving things and redirecting Norah’s attention to safer toys. There was no deep sigh of holiday relaxation until the wee girl was asleep…and even this was stressful since she doesn’t like falling asleep anywhere but in her own room. She shrieked and wailed. Her kicks and flailings could be heard over the baby monitor, but we stayed strong and waited her out. However, even once the monitor went silent, there was no promise of sleep. We listened to more screams from 2 to 4 am in the middle of the 23rd to 24th night. She in her Pack-n-Play and Moonshot and I beside her in bed…she saw no reason that we should not be holding her. But holding her only enraged her more. So, she went back and forth from bed to Pack-n-Play, from Pack-n-Play to bed. This delightful routine led directly to a grumpy daughter the next day whose tolerance for being led away from various decorative items was markedly reduced. And also to grumpy parents whose tolerance for their daughter’s fits was greatly reduced as well.

I should say that in all, Norah did very well. It’s a lot to ask a 17-month old to deal with, so I’ll not judge her too harshly. And I’ll also say that by the time we packed up to leave, she had learned which items in her Grandma’s house were toys and which weren’t. And she slept soundly on Christmas Eve…so we were all in good spirits for the actual event.

CoolSanta brought Norah her first trike this year. She can’t work the pedals, but she loves to sit on it and scoot about. We had planned to get a cheap plastic Big-Wheel type thing…but thanks to Costco we were able to swing a cool Schwinn retro thing. She rounded the corner from the bedroom, scanned the room and ran straight for that tricycle. She climbed right into the seat and started making “vroom” noises. Ah, parental bliss.

She got lots of art supplies this year. Magna-Doodles and water markers…perfectly times for her new love of scribbling. And also lots of mimicry toys. Small pots and pans, an assortment of truly impressive fake food, and a little vacuum that apparently actually works. We’re introducing the new toys into her world one at a time so that she gets a chance to really look at each one beyond the sensory overload of Christmas morning.

As for me, I came away with a spiffy new bicycle from Moonshot and her family so that I can resume my dream of biking the Katy Trail, an assortment of cool new clothes, tickets to see Wicked at the Fabulous Fox Theater with my wife and few other cool odds and ends.

This weekend will find us in Iowa with Moonshot’s family. Even though I already got the bike they got me, I suppose I’ll still go up there to see them and give them some gifts ;)

And finally, since I haven’t processed any of the Christmas pictures just yet, I’ll leave you all with the shots we sent out with our Christmas cards this year. They may be repeats for many of you, but I think you can never stare at Norah’s cuteness too much…

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday.


Mark said...

Wow. I haven't read it all yet, because it popped into my newsreader while I was on a support call, and now it's time for me to leave for a date night. But I had to say that the picture of Norah in the snow is priceless. One of the best kid snow pics I've ever seen.

emilie b said...

Norah is THE cute with her little hat and pale skin and all the magic snow around!

Xavier did excellently on his (almost) first Christmas, even though we woke him up in the middle of Christmas eve for a part of the night. The only bug was to get him napping on the next day - because apparently, the more tired a toddler is, the less willing he is to go to nap - but other than that he was great and pleasant. Great goodies from Santa, too, including a wonderful rocket packed with astronauts, an astronaut dog, an exploration vehicle and even a little alien in a crater. (Frank says I like to play with it even more than Xavier does, but I told him it's just that I have to show Xavier how to work it.) (There it is.)

Glad to hear you guys had fun at Christmas. Best wishes for 2008! :)

Mark said...

And now I can say -- welcome. The grueling holiday adventures are in full effect. Great plan to always have her in her own bed for Christmas Eve. We've always done it that way -- it works perfectly around our extended families' various events.

I remember the whole chasing a toddler around preventing the grabbing. Can't say I miss a thing about it. Glad you guys stuck to it instead of letting her break stuff or moving all the knick-knacks. Sounds like she's learning to live in your world.

Have fun in Iowa! Our new neighbors are from Iowa.

Moksha Gren said...

Mark - I love that picture too and it's all Moonshot's doing. I argued against taking the little miss out in the snow, thinking the grandparents would berate us for trying to freeze their only grandchild. But my wife persisted and she snapped a wonderful image of Norah's first experience with actual falling snow.

Emilie - While she does have her father's pale skin..I feel it important to note that she IS wearing white leggings. She's not quite THAT pale.

That rocket looks great. I, too, would have a hard time sharing that with my child ;)

Mark (again) - Some things were take away, the very breakable or the very dangerous. But for the most part you phrased it exactly the way we do...we're teaching her to live in our world. We let her pick things up at the grocery store, look them over and then put it back on the shelf. I'm actually glad that she is curious enough about her envirnment that she wants to go see what sort of stuff MoMa has on the shelves. However, it's a lot more work right now doing it this way. In our home, however, it's already paid off. She has free reign of the house (minus stairs and sunroom)and we don't need to hover over her at all times.

Did you guys enjoy your date night?

Amy said...

I LOVE the last picture. She looks like a little actress. She was planning that shot the whole time since she was dressed in her little pea coat and hat.

Simon said...

Hey yeah, that snow pic is truly awesome. Subjecting your kid to the rigors of the elements is totally worth the Kodak moments.

Since we spent the past week with Amy's folks, Grandma slept in the spare room with Tavish, and Grandpa got to curl up with Dex in the big bed. Amy and I got the basement bedroom and the enviable ability to get up whenever the heck we felt like it. THAT was one of the best Christmas presents!

Have fun in Iowa!

Mike said...

Hope you guys had a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Love the photos of Norah.


Simon said...

Having now settled into our post-Christmas return to routine, I think my wife and I have vowed not to go away for Christmas for a few more years, at least not until the boys reach a more malleable age when changes to their schedules are easier for them (and US!) to handle.

I hope Little Lutine is getting back into where you had her before.

Enjoyable? Yes.
Relaxing? Hell, no!